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Celebrating the PATHS

I’ve been one of Rebekah’s friends for 14 years, and have been a friend of Astonished! since it was a gleam in Ruth’s eye.  Sometimes I simply witness from my home in Winnipeg (thank goodness for Facebook), other times I’ve been able to join the Student Researchers at the pub after an afternoon’s work, or to come to an Annual Meeting.

Last Thursday Rebekah invited me to the PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) celebration for Kennen, Kaitlyn, Kelsey, Sean, Avery and herself.  What an eye and heart-opening afternoon! I loved the unique ways in which each of the Student Researchers and their companion or volunteer presented the rich variety of directions in which their unique PATHS had taken them.  They ranged from formal Power Point presentations, to informal questions and answers conversations.  Again and again, the accountability for each step/wheel roll of the PATH was obvious, and the strengths and abilities of each person shone through.  It was clear to me that the PATHS have direction and purpose.  They are leading in a direction determined by the Student Researcher  with the support of Astonished!  team.

I was also struck by the respectful and attentive listening as a presenter was talking.  No-one was waiting for “my turn”.  This was a community – celebrating the achievements of every member with a real sense of pride in each other.

The party afterwards was wonderful too – good food and good company.  Thank you for your invitation, Rebekah.  This was a great way to start my Saskatchewan stay.

Barbara Barnett